Writing

The First Draft is Just the Beginning

I spend a lot of time working with my clients to edit and revise their proposals and manuscripts. I give notes and suggestions for improvements. Sometimes I take them through draft after draft, until everything seems just right. I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it again…
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Write an Author Bio They’ll Remember

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how difficult it can be to write about yourself in a bio—after all, you’re a writer! But I understand it’s not as simple as that, so here are a few tips to make it easier.   Write your bio in first person for query letters, third person for most other purposes including proposals, book…
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Have it Your Way

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us, all we ask is that you let us… serve it your way. If you were born much later than, say, 1970, then you may have missed that tasty morsel of a Burger King commercial. But for the rest of us, it lives on in…
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How Do You Know If Your Work is Any Good?

  A question from a reader on Facebook: Outside of selling, how do you know that your work is actually good? You may pitch a book, and it might be good but might not be what an agent likes. So how do you validate that what you are doing is good? Always a good question!…
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Resources for Writing Memoir

Recently I tweeted this advice on writing memoir: “Please don’t submit your memoir until you’ve read 20 good memoirs and 5 books on writing memoir—and learned from them.” I didn’t mean you shouldn’t write your memoir until you’ve done all that. But while you’re writing, I hope you’re taking the craft seriously, and learning about…
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Utterly Original: A Rant

“To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been written. Ever. It is utterly fresh, mine and complete.” That was a line in a query I received. It’s hard to explain how this sounds to agents and editors who get pitched everything under the sun, are typically well-read, and are aware of what’s going on…
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Motivated Novelist

5 Habits of Motivated Novelists

Last year at this time, I introduced RescueTime, an online productivity tool that helps people make the most of their time while on the computer. Once again this year, RescueTime is teaming up with writers participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and offering a free month-long membership in RescueTime, complete with their premium productivity tools.…
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Minimize the Obstacles

I’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview: When you’re a debut author trying to break in to traditional publishing, one of the most important things to remember is this: Minimize the obstacles. You already know it’s not going to be easy to break in, so you want to avoid making it even…
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Walden on Wheels

Are You Afraid to Tell the Truth?

I am a reader of memoirs. I love them as much as I adore good fiction. I love the way great memoirists unflinchingly bare themselves to us, showing the good and the bad, the admirable moments and the shameful ones. I just finished reading an unusual memoir (Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas) which is…
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Exclamation point

Those Annoying Exclamation Points!!!

Over many years of editing books, it seems I have become a heartless eliminator of exclamation points!!! Seriously, I developed a hatred for them! People tend to WAY overuse them! Not to mention italics and bold, and that oh-so-effective use of ALL CAPS!!!!!!! Here’s a hint to avoid coming across as amateur: Use the above…
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Target

How to Create a Style Sheet for Your Manuscript

If you’ve been writing books for long, you may have come across the challenge of keeping the details straight so that you can be consistent throughout the book. If the hero has blue eyes on page 1, he shouldn’t have green eyes on page 50. If your non-fiction book capitalizes “Servant Leadership” in the first…
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Telling Your Personal Story

Telling Your Personal Story

Dear Rachelle, People are always telling me, “You should write a book!” For years I have been ignoring them, but more and more people are telling me that I shouldn’t let my experiences be wasted, that I need to share them because they are not only inspirational, they will make people laugh, make them cry, and…
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Reading

Who Should Read Your Unpublished Work?

One of the most common pieces of advice writers are given is: Get outside feedback. Published or not, writers typically show their work to beta readers, critique partners, friends, family members or anyone who will read it, to get feedback before submitting to an editor, agent or publisher. I’m one of those who frequently gives…
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Does Story Trump Craft?

We’ve discussed various aspects of writing many times on this blog, including the importance of mastering the craft along with how crucial it is to have a terrific story (or for non-fiction, a strong, compelling topic). Having been an editor for years and an aficionado of both literary and genre fiction, I’ve always advocated the…
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I love words.

I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.

I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.

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